Scientists at MIT and Northeastern in the US have developed tiny microworm devices that can be implanted under the skin and could offer continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels and other biomedical information in the future.
The breakthrough, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, allows these microparticle-based systems to monitor biomedical indicators, which it is hoped can be developed into implantable devices that people with diabetes could use to check their blood sugar just by looking at an area of skin, and even for the selective delivery of therapies to specific organs or areas of the body.
This new system uses a microparticle that is shaped like a long tube, so that the contents of the tube remains in close proximity to blood or body tissue, allowing the particles to easily sense and respond to chemical or other conditions in their surroundings.
The length of the tubes, which are hollow and less than one-hundredth the width of a human hair across, means that they stay anchored for long-term monitoring, and could be used to monitor the glucose levels of diabetics . If the material inside the microworm is fluorescent, Karen Gleaso, co-author of the paper, explains “the degree of fluorescence provides continuous physiological monitoring of a specific chemical.”
She added that the light emitted by the fluorescing chemical “is visible to the human eye, and thus can be directly interpreted by the patient without the need for bulky monitors.”

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